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57th Vuelta a España
Spain, September 7- 29, 2002
Stage 11 - September 18: Alcobendas - Collado Villalba, 166.1 km
Complete Live Report
Start time: 13:00 CEST
The stage is underway, and the weather is not cooperating. After a soggy time trial, today's road stage could be another wet and weary affair. Race leader Oscar Sevilla begins the stage with just a 1" advantage over his teammate Aitor Gonzalez. The Kelme team is looking tough to beat after the first ten stages. Telekom's Alexandre Vinokourov has abandoned the race (he didn't sign in this morning), still suffering from a fever that hindered his performance in Monday's time trial.
A break of 15 riders left the peloton in the early kilometers of today's stage, and the favorites are thus far content to watch them go. The break was whittled down to 3 riders, but a new group of chasers has just joined from behind. Among the leaders are Mercado ,Flecha (iBanesto), Perez (Coast), Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo), Jeker, Mauri, (Milaneza).
The group currently has a 1'05" advantage over the peloton.
14:50 CEST 76km / 90km to go
The race is in the city of Guadarrama, approaching the the lower slopes of the Alto de Los Leones, a 1st category climb. The leaders' advantage is now close to 2'30". Jazztel's Gadeo is riding solo, chasing the lead group. Also in the break is Acqua & Sapone's Perdiguero, who was penalized 1'00" after Monday's TT for drafting behind Kelme's Antonio Tauler.
15:00 CEST 80km / 86km to go
The peloton is in the sun at the moment, but some rather threatening clouds are looming ahead. Gadeo is pressing on with his effort to bridge to the leaders, while the pace in the main bunch is steady. A small group of about 6 riders is now moving clear of the peloton.
15:05 CEST 81km / 85km to go
The peloton is in one piece, but beginning to stretch out on the foot of the climb, and Gadeo's advantage is not growing. Kelme's Manzano is setting the pace. The break still has a gap of 2'37" over the peloton, as some riders begin to attack the peloton. Perdiguero is trying to go it alone off the front of the break.
15:10 CEST 83km / 83km to go
Danilo Di Luca (Saeco) has attacked the front of the peloton, joined by Attienza, De Munain, and Garcia Acosta. The peloton is unlikely to let them get much of an advantage. Di Luca is on a roll, however, and has dropped the other three. Perdiguero has taken the mountains points.
Danilo Di Luca has been rejoined by Lopez de Munain and David Etxebarria of Euskaltel, and they've passed over the summit a little over 2'30" behind. The Peloton is 30" behind these three and beginning the descent.
15:20 CEST 90km / 76km to go
Di Luca's group of three is still riding in search of the first chase group, which itself is still behind the lone leader Perdiguero. They've just picked up (and passed) Alessandro Petacchi, who soon enough will be back in the peloton. Perdiguero has 2'22" over Di Luca's group, with the remnants of the original break somewhere in between.
15:27 CEST 95km / 71km to go
On the initial descent of the Alto de Los Leones, the peloton is much more stretched out. Perdiguero is still out in front, riding out of the saddle in the transitional portions between climbs. Petacchi has managed to rejoin Di Luca's group, which is working well. Both Etxebarria and Di Luca look strong today.
Guido Trenti, Perdiguero's Acqua & Sapone teammate, has abandoned the race.
15:32 CEST 98km / 68km to go
The Euskaltel duo of Lopez de Munain and Etxebarria are setting the pace in the second chase group, with Di Luca and Petacchi firmly in the mix. Perdiguero is now passing over the summit of the 3rd category climb, with 55" over the first chase group, while the Di Luca group is closing in on the first chase group and 1"45 behind Perdiguero. Luis Perez is doing most of the work in this group, still in search of his first stage win after two top three placings.
15:35 CEST 100km / 66km to go
The peloton has passed the summit 3'23" behind Perdiguero. The pace is steady but there doesn't appear to be a determined chase just yet.
15:40 CEST 103km / 63km to go
The latest abandon: Serguei Yakovlev (Telekom) has called it a day.
Things are starting to get serious, as five Kelme riders have taken control of the front of the peloton and lifted the pace. Race leader Sevilla has moved near the front as well.
An impressive head to head has just begun, as several ONCE riders stormed to the front and took over the pacemaking from Kelme. The acceleration has caused a split in the peloton between the two big climbs of the day, as perhaps 25 riders have moved slightly ahead of the remainder of the field.
15:45 CEST 107km / 59km to go
The Di Luca group has picked up its third Euskaltel rider, Mikel Artetxe, who was among the early leaders. The peloton has indeed split, with ONCE still driving the first split. The second peloton is strung out in a desperate effort to rejoin the leaders. Aitor Gonzalez and Sevilla are certainly up front. Whereabouts unknown for Heras, Simoni, Casero, et. al.
15:48 CEST 109km / 57km to go
Perdiguero is still out front, being chased by the Di Luca group, who are about to pick up the remaining stragglers from the day's original break. Euskaltel is the best represented team at the moment, with three riders in the now ten man chase group. This group is now within 20" of Perdiguero. Behind it looks as though the peloton has come back together as well.
The Peloton is 1'36" behind Perdiguero, and about 1'15" behind the Di Luca group.
15:54 CEST 112km / 54km to go
The members of the enlarged chase group don't appear to be working well together, particularly with the over-representation of iBanesto and Euskaltel. ONCE will also be interested in chasing, as Euskaltel is not too far behind in the teams classification.
16:00 CEST 117km / 49km to go
Once again the peloton has split, though the front portion is bigger than the previous occasion. The winds are helping provoke the splits, and the riders have to remain vigilant. ONCE is causing the pain up front.
Up front, Euskaltel's Mikel Artetxe has jumped away with Joan Horrach (Milaneza) and Juan Antonio Flecha (iBanesto). Behind, Di Luca's group is not working together at all. The neutral race vehicles are being pulled forward, indicating that the first peloton is closing in.
16:04 CEST 124km / 42km to go
Some riders like Horrach are sitting up and waiting for the peloton, but Di Luca has decided to remain aggressive and has set off alone. He's on the beginning of the day's next climb, and has joined Artetxe and Flecha.
16:09 CEST 127km / 39km to go
In the midst of the attacks and counter attacks, Perdiguero was of course reeled in by the chasers. The situation up front now is Di Luca, Artetxe and Flecha ahead with less than one minute advantage over the chasing peloton. ONCE is still forcing the pace, perhaps looking to set up Beloki for an attack on the final climb. Gonzalez de Galdeano has launched a small attack with two riders in tow.
16:12 CEST 129km / 37km to go
Gonzalez de Galdeano's group has swelled to about 10 riders on a descent, chasing Di Luca's leading group of three with a modest gap over the peloton. The chase group includes Di Luca's Saeco teammate Astarloa, US Postal's Chechu Rubiera, among others. Most major teams are represented, and not surprisingly the group is not cooperating particularly well. Kelme is leading the peloton behind.
16:15 CEST 130km / 36km to go
Oscar Pereiro (Phonak) has attacked the chasing group, with Rubeira and Jon Odriozola on his wheel. The leading three are still away and working well together on the climb. Artetxe is doing a little less work, and has opted out of a few pulls.
16:18 CEST 131km / 35km to go
The leading three are about 5km from the summit of the climb. The descent is a technical one, and an advantage of close to a minute could be sufficient for the leaders to stay away until the finish. Rubiera's chase group of three is about to be pulled back by the peloton.
16:22 CEST 134km / 32km to go
Mikel Artetxe has dropped off the pace set by Di Luca and Flecha, who are persisting on the climb. The Puerto de Navacerrada has an average gradient of 5.9%, but sections of 7-8% in the middle and near the top.
As Artetxe is brought back, his teammate Iker Flores has launched from the front of the peloton in search of the two leaders.
16:23 CEST 134km / 32km to go
Danilo Di Luca has dropped Flecha and is spinning his way towards the summit, looking confident. Flores is still chasing, and will likely catch Flecha quite soon.
16:28 CEST 136km / 30km to go
Iker Flores has caught Juan Antonio Flecha, who will probably struggle to stay on the Euskaltel rider's wheel. Di Luca is carrying on up front, with 32" advantage. Di Luca is pedaling at a much higher cadence then Flores and Flecha. Kelme and ONCE are riding at the head of the peloton, as two US Postal teammates have moved to the front for Roberto Heras. It's Rubiera stomping on the pedals with Heras on his wheel.
Heras himself has moved to the front, clearly trying to force a selection. Iban Mayo has countered and gained a small gap.
16:32 CEST 138km / 28km to go
It's crunch time for the favorites, as Heras brings Mayo back with Sevilla and Simoni on his wheel. Aitor Gonzalez has made the cut as well. At the back of this group, David Millar is in trouble with Camenzind and Casero. The group is 24" behind Di Luca.
16:35 CEST 139km / 27km to go
The chasing group is at just over 1km from the summit. Carlos Garcia (Kelme) is working for Sevilla, with Gonzalez present as well. The group is starting to fracture. Iban Mayo is having another go for Euskaltel, getting another gap ahead of his group. Di Luca is about to be caught by the flying Mayo, who takes the other side of the road to prevent Di Luca from getting his wheel.
The Italian digs deep and catches Mayo as they approach the summit. Sevilla is now taking up the charge from behind, with Simoni on his wheel. Simoni won't attack with Di Luca still in front. Mayo is putting Di Luca in difficulty; he's caught by Sevilla. Mayo is back as well as Heras lifts the pace.
16:40 CEST 141km / 25km to go
The descent is on! Heras begins the charge downhill, and the group takes some time to reform. Di Luca is about 10 meters off the back, but keeping contact. Portions of the descent are wet, making an already technical finale all the more delicate.
16:46 CEST 150km / 16km to go
The riders dropped near the summit of the Puerto de Navacerrada are working to make contact once again. The speed is 84kmh as Di Luca once again puts himself on the front of the race. He's managed to get a gap over the group with ONCE's Jorg Jaksche. As the grade levels out a bit, the two are back in the fold and Pablo Lastras (iBanesto) launches his own attack.
Gilberto Simoni makes a small move at the front, marked by Manzano (Kelme) and David Millar, who's done well to stay in the select leading group.
16:48 CEST 152km / 14km to go
Millar is on the front, bouncing his bike a bit, perhaps fearing a softening rear tire. He's already had one wheel change. Manzano works his way back to the front, and gets a small (unintended) gap in the process.
Jorg Jaksche gives it another go off the front and has 10 meters.
16:52 CEST 155km / 10km to go
Beloki is hanging at the back of the lead group, as Jaksche continues on his own with a small advantage. Casero has attacked for the second time, but once again he hasn't gotten far. Simoni is in second position, Sevilla in third.
16:55 CEST 158km / 8km to go
All of the GC favorites appear to be present in this lead group, numbering around 20 riders. Should the race come down to the sprint, there are a number of fast finishers who will be looking for the win: Di Luca, Millar, Camenzind, etc.
16:56 CEST 162km / 4km to go
New attacks are coming as the lead group is finished with the descent. Claus Moller went off the front, marked by Lastras and Zubeldia. Moller has forced the pace, but Lastras is giving it his own go. They have a handful of seconds ahead of the chasers.
16:58 CEST 164km / 2km to go
The peloton is working to catch the three attackers, who have hit a small rise nearing the line. Moller looks to be in difficulty but is hanging on.
17:00 CEST finish
The peloton is closing in but has not yet caught the leaders under the 1km to go banner. Zubeldia is working extremely hard to keep the trio away. Zubeldia's got a small gap over the other two.
Zubeldia launches his sprint and the other two do the same. Lastras gets his wheel and the two battle it out head to head.
Lastras has just enough force to get ahead, and wins his second stage! Moller is third while David Millar leads the group in to take 4th place. Millar has now cracked the top 10 after ONCE's Zarrabeitia missed the cut.
1 Pablo Lastras (Spa) iBanesto.com 3.55.54 2 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euksaltel-Euskadi 3 Klaus Moller (Den) Maia-Milaneza 0.02 4 David Millar (GBr) Cofidis 0.09 5 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 6 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 7 Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 8 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco Longoni Sport 9 Fabian Jeker (Swi) Maia-Milaneza 10 Roberto Heras (Spa) US Postal Service